"It’s not just me. It’s a whole community coming together to support each other, which is the really special part,” he said.
Christmas cakes are heavy, dense fruit cakes that are frequently given as gifts during the holidays. However, baking them can take hours, which can be problematic for many people who are already struggling with the nation's rising energy prices. This being the reason has led a baker across the pond to use his trustee tool—the oven—to serve his town a dose of holiday cheer. According to TODAY, on November 30, Brickyard Bakery owner Ed Hamilton-Trewitt offered to bake free Christmas cakes in his six-foot-square oven for passersby in Guisborough, a village in North Yorkshire, England.
“Drop your unbaked Christmas cakes off on Friday at the bakery, we bake over the weekend ready for you to collect Monday — FREE OF CHARGE,” reads a post on Brickyard Bakery’s Facebook page. “What’s not to love — let's get baking!”
The nine-year-old bakery also offers full-day weekly seminars in breadmaking, Christmas baking, kid-friendly baking, and more. Hamilton-Trewhitt, a member of the community, was motivated to provide this service since growing energy costs were affecting him as well as everyone else in his immediate vicinity. Inadvertently heating the sitting room above the shop with heat from Brickyard's oven gave Hamilton-Trewhitt the idea to open the area on September 15 as a free sitting room for visitors to come in from the cold, free of charge, to enjoy a cup of tea, read a book, or simply relax in the warmth. “You don’t have to buy anything, just come and keep warm on us.”
He explains that one day, a customer entered the store evidently distressed from having purchased the materials for a set of fruit cakes for different members of her family. She had just finished shopping for her holiday baking. “We’re struggling terribly with food inflation at the moment as well and the cost of the ingredients was massive.” She had just paid prices for flour, butter, and other groceries, and Hamilton-Trewhitt claims he noted how plainly astonished she was. The country's food price inflation reached a new high of 12.4% in November, the Guardian reports.
Millions of low-income people in the UK are currently unable to heat their houses due to the country's skyrocketing energy costs.
Offering the woman his oven, which is always on because he runs a bakery, he realized that if one customer was concerned about being able to fund their long-standing Christmas customs, then there must be many others. He added, "We were going to revitalize the open community concept from medieval times". The idea Hamilton-Trewhitt is referring to is a community oven, a centuries-old style of communal cooking that is popular not just in Europe but also beyond. Ovens were too cumbersome for the average villager in their early forms because they were frequently the size of structures. People used to frequently bake bread, puddings, and potatoes in these appliances, which eventually formed a central component of communities. This practice is expected to continue, at least during the current holiday season and possibly beyond.
Since there were so many cakes to make, Hamilton-Trewhitt adds, "we're just going to leave it on running until certainly after the Christmas holidays." Originally, he had planned to offer the service for just one weekend, but the response made him rethink his plans. Hamilton-Trewhitt emphasizes that he is not the only member of the neighborhood offering assistance to those nearby. It’s not just me,” he says. “It’s a whole community coming together to support each other, which is the really special part.”